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Help w/ a 63 SG Custom

sikoniko

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Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
674
I'm entertaining the idea of an SG Custom. I want a PAF guitar and this might be the be route for me to take, plus I love SG's!

Here is the heel of an early '63 I am looking at. Owner claims its all original and marking are just scratches on the paint. I am having trouble finding pictures online of neck heels for this era... so looking for help.. does this look right? If its not, is there a number the guitar might still be a good deal at, considering it has 2 PAF's and a PAT# and all else is original?

thanks

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Wally

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Feb 27, 2003
Messages
3,431
Imho, there is a possibility that there has been a repair in that area. Hard to know for sure, though, from the pics.
 

poor man's burst

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
244
It is definitely not a scratch but a stress crack in the finish at least. Considering the well-known fragility of humbuckers equiped SG's heels, I wouldn't rule out the possibility it is in the wood also.
 

charliechitlins

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Nov 16, 2021
Messages
399
Yikes!
It's possible it flexed enough to do that to the finish and not the wood, but I sure wouldn't want to bet my money on it.
Know a friendly x-ray tech? :p
 

bizzwriter

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Oct 23, 2002
Messages
975
I dunno -- I've had a couple polaris white '63 SG Jr.s and they both had cracks in the finish around the neck joint. SG necks flex like crazy, and I suspect that the original polaris white paint was laid on kinda thick. I personally think it's par for the course and wouldn't worry about it.

If you buy it, please post pix of the entire guitar -- I'll bet it's a nice one!
 

poor man's burst

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
244
I dunno -- I've had a couple polaris white '63 SG Jr.s and they both had cracks in the finish around the neck joint. SG necks flex like crazy, and I suspect that the original polaris white paint was laid on kinda thick. I personally think it's par for the course and wouldn't worry about it.

If you buy it, please post pix of the entire guitar -- I'll bet it's a nice one!

SG Jr are much less likely to break at the neck heel than the humbucker equiped SGs (Standard and Custom) because of the absence of neck pickup routing.
 

bizzwriter

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Oct 23, 2002
Messages
975
SG Jr are much less likely to break at the neck heel than the humbucker equiped SGs (Standard and Custom) because of the absence of neck pickup routing.
True, but I'd be surprised to see any '63 SG in polaris white without some stress cracks around the heel. Here's a '63 Special on Reverb with some minor finish cracks around the heel: https://reverb.com/item/15951269-gibson-sg-special-1963-polaris-white // Again, I think it's pretty typical with this particular finish on a '63 SG and wouldn't be a deal breaker for me personally.

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poor man's burst

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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
244
Finish thickness is one parameter. Heel fragility (because of the neck humbucker) is a second one. If you decide to consider only one of both...well, it's your choice.
 

marshall1987

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Jan 30, 2005
Messages
3,262
I wouldn't even consider an internet purchase of an early '60s Gibson SG Standard or Custom unless the seller provided detailed photos of the neck tenon and the neck pickup route. Far too many examples have been broken or damaged over the past 60 years. Or the glue just gives up because there's not enough wood to ensure a lifetime solid bond between the neck and body.

Online photos of the back of the guitar, the neck heel, and neck joint are not sufficient to prove the guitar's neck joint is 100% sound.
 

blueline

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Mar 31, 2005
Messages
153
I wouldn't even consider an internet purchase of an early '60s Gibson SG Standard or Custom unless the seller provided detailed photos of the neck tenon and the neck pickup route. Far too many examples have been broken or damaged over the past 60 years. Or the glue just gives up because there's not enough wood to ensure a lifetime solid bond between the neck and body.

Online photos of the back of the guitar, the neck heel, and neck joint are not sufficient to prove the guitar's neck joint is 100% sound.
I have never heard of the "glue Just gives up" What evidence is there's not enough wood to ensure a lifetime solid bond? "Far too many" examples have not broken over the last 62 years.
But I agree you need pics of the the neck cavity and lets see that neck tenon including a pic of the tenon cover on and off. I am assuming this ia a still Les Paul Custom.
 

poor man's burst

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Oct 3, 2010
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I have never heard of the "glue Just gives up" What evidence is there's not enough wood to ensure a lifetime solid bond?
I've seen it happen in more than a few occasions. And if you compare glueing surfaces between a Les Paul and an SG neck tenon, there is no match, specially considering that the more efficient surfaces are the vertical ones (those perpendicular to the top and bottom of the guitar body).
 
Last edited:

bizzwriter

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Oct 23, 2002
Messages
975
Ok OP @sikoniko -- you also asked about what you might offer given the condition.

The guitar has two PAFs plus one early PAT # pickup (essentially a PAF with a different sticker), right?

I checked Reverb and this gold PAF with cover removed in Australia sold for $4,500. https://reverb.com/item/44827488-vi...kup-1960-62-worn-gold-original?show_sold=true

So the SG Custom you're interested in has somewhere around $9,000 of PAFs in it.

This cover-removed '63 PAT # pickup in Montreal sold for $2,500. https://reverb.com/item/47151204-gibson-patent-number-pickup-1963-paf?show_sold=true

So the SG Custom has close to $12,000 worth of pickups in it -- maybe a little more if they're sealed and haven't been taken apart. (I'd DEFINITELY want to see photos of the backs of those pickups in addition to the neck cavity/tenon.) The prices for these are just going to continue to go up.

At $15,000 asking, you're essentially paying $3,000 for the rest of the guitar. I'd probably have that weird spot on the neck redone which would cost an extra $500 or so, maybe a bit more if you take it to a high-end luthier.

You could offer $12,000 for starters and see where you end up.
 

sikoniko

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Joined
Aug 28, 2012
Messages
674
I decided to go for it.

The markings on the heel appear to be indents from something it was laying on for some time? dunno. apparently the guitar sat in a closet since the early '70s.

Anyways, here is my SG family photo - Left to Right -> '63, '64, '65 (the '65 is mostly all '64 spec - just the TRC and the lyre cover, which is chrome, while the rest is nickel, are the only '65 spec items on the guitar)

sW7v8DU.jpg


I'm not Charlie when it comes to photography. I may try to get some more shots, but this is my NGD post, I guess you could say.
 
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